Sometimes in the middle of winter, I need a little reminder that spring and summer exist. Nothing crazy, no lavish vacations (although that would be nice), just something to wake up my senses and say: “Oh yah!! Sunshine is super awesome.”
When I lived in Petawawa, I was lucky to live near a wild blueberry patch. I would take my kids and we would fill up our little containers and our bellies with fresh, wild blueberries. Doing this always reminded me of summers up in Nipissing when I was growing up. We would spend hours picking blueberries so we could make pies and pancakes.
I live in Toronto now. There are no blueberry bushes around the corner.
Nothing says summer to me more than fresh, wild Canadian blueberries. The really little ones, because they’re the sweetest. But finding them in the middle of winter, well, it’s actually impossible. Frozen, sure. And they’ll do sometimes. But there is nothing like the fresh burst of juice from a fresh wild blueberry.
And along came THIS: Van Dyk’s 100% Pure Wild Blueberry Juice.
Or what I like to call it: “Summer in a bottle”.
The Wild Blueberry Association of North America read my mind and sent me a bottle of this stuff. Yes, they sent it to me. But trust me when I say ALL OPINIONS ON THIS BLOG ARE MY OWN and I would never write about something I don’t believe is an awesome product.
Ok, so they sent me this bottle of Canadian deliciousness and after deciding not to drink it all right then and there, I started to think…how could I spread this summer blueberry love with my family?
I thought of ways I could drink it…with soda, or in a cocktail…OMG Blueberry mimosas!!!
Sorry, I got sidetracked. I should actually pick up some more of this stuff…to y’know…
drink more do more recipe testing.
My kids are big fans of blueberries. I don’t know if it’s genetic, but they love them. And I wanted them to have the full flavor and essence of this blueberry juice. But I didn’t want to just give it to them to drink. No, I wanted to be more creative than that without muddling up the whole flavor.
Then I thought…JELLO.
But not just any jelly-like creation…AGAR AGAR jello.
Have you guys heard of this? Gelatin is easy to find and this recipe could easily use it, but I have a lot of friends that don’t eat meat and since gelatin is made from skin, cartilage and bones of animals…I thought I could find another way.
And I did.
Agar Agar is made from seaweed. STOP. It’s also colourless, flavourless and DOES THE SAME THING AS JELLO. Not as easy to find, but I’m sure you creative folks can get out there and look. I found mine at a Seasons grocery store which carries foods from all sorts of ethnicities. It’s AWESOME.
So I followed the directions on the package and heated the blueberry juice and added the powder. I let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours and ahhhhhh! PERFECT BLUEBERRY JELLO that tastes like fresh, summer blueberries. No joke. My kids ate the whole pan.
- 2 cups Van Dyk’s 100% Pure Wild Blueberry Juice
- approx. 1/3 cup agar agar powder.
Heat blueberry juice until steamy. Whisk in agar agar powder until dissolved. Place in a shallow glass dish and leave in fridge for at least 2-3 hours.
I honestly could’ve passed these on as vitamin gummies. They were so delicious and full of antioxidants. Lip staining antioxidants.
Ok, enough gushing. Winter will soon be over and all those delicious berries will be available again. Just remember the blueberries you buy at the store aren’t the same as WILD Canadian blueberries. The tiny little sweet ones you can pick up at the side of the road? Those are the goodness. LOCAL goodness. Don’t settle for anything less!
Oh-and if you would like to win yourself a bottle (or two) of this amazing juice, plus a few other fun blueberry items, be sure to follow me on facebook, twitter and instagram. I’ll be doing FLASH GIVEAWAYS this week and giving away these awesome totes filled with blueberry goodies!!
Good luck to everyone! I can feel the warmth of summer already…